Utazi (GANGRONEMA latifolium) is a tropical rain forest plant, used mainly as a vegetable or spice. It is a climbing crop reaching up to 5 meters long, with a woody base and hollow stems. In Eastern Nigeria (Igbo/Ibo), Utazi is called “arokeke”. In Western Nigeria Yoruba, it is called “Iyere” while the Efik and Ibibio tribes call it “Etinkene”.
Botanical name: GANGRONEMA latifolium (utazi)
Utazi has a broad, heart shaped or oval leaf. The flowers are small or a yellowish green color, it flowers between July and September.
Here are 10 Nutrition and Health Benefits of Utazi leaf.
1. It is Rich in Protein, fatty and Amino acid
These properties make them an excellent food supplement, perfect for usage in food production, and in everyday cooking.
2. It relieves pain
GANGRONEMA latifolium is used to cure bruises, cuts and inflammation. The external application of cut leaf can reduce pain and fasten the time of curing.
Besides, Utazi extract provides relief from internal pain. Historical also review that the leaf where used to massage joints, and treat children who have difficulty in walking.
3. Anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties
The methanol extract are used as anti-bacterial vaccines, helping to slow down, and stop the activities of some dangerous micro organisms. Utazi leaf is effective in treating muscle conditions and fighting arthritis formations.
4. Anti-oxidants properties
Saponins and flavonoids which are found in Utazi leaves possess antioxidant properties, and help to clear the human organisms from toxins. Therefore consuming Utazi leaf helps to improve overall well being.
5. Cancer prevention
The above mentioned antioxidant properties in GANGRONEMA latifolium helps to destroy free radicals, and strengthen the cells from the inside, making them more effective in protecting the body from dangerous formations.
This leaf demonstrate strong inhabitory activities against lungs and breast cancer.
6. Liver protection
The detoxification properties in Utazi influences liver in a positive way. Particularly been an effective cure, for viral hepatitis and liver protection. The leaves are sometimes used to prevent drunkeness and intoxificating effect of alcohol.
7. Digestion Improvement
The Utazi leaf helps to stimulate digestive system by increasing the appetite and normalising metabolism. It is absolutely safe to use as a home remedy for appetite loss, stomach ache, dysentery and intestinal worms.
A question which bothers young women, is if Utazi leaf is good for pregnant women? Just like other species pregnant women should be careful in consuming this leaf, using a little proportion or rejecting it during this 9 months.
Nevertheless, it is widely used to treat abdominal pain, and control body weight after child birth. Moreover Utazi leaf and fertility connection has been established, meaning are you can add some Utaz leaves to your diet, before and after pregnancy. Infact it is mostly eaten after child birth.
8. Remedy for Malaria
Utazi leaf has been used to cure malaria long ago
9. Anti-asthmatic properties
The potentials of fresh Utaz leaves and roots is quite wide among other positive effect. It can be consumed for dealing with asthma.
10. Remedy for cold and flu
The leaves soaked in hot water is good enough to deal with cough, running nose, chest pain and head ache.
How to use Utazi leaf?
It can be used in different ways and forms:
It can be used for spicing our food, especially when we talk about national dishes like Nkwobi, Isi ewu, Abacha, Ugba, Ugana, and other western dishes as well as Yam porriage and soups.
Please do not fail to spice your food with some Utaz leaves. It very good for the body. You can also prepare such in your homes for your family
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